Men and the mid-life crisis

Saurabh Shukla  

Marking his return to theatre after 18 years, Saurabh Shukla’s 2 to Tango 3 to Jive will be performed as part of The Hindu Theatre Festival 2015. The play revolves around Parminder Singh Sethi, who is going through a midlife crisis and is bored with his mundane routine. He feels as though life has passed him by. So for the first time in his 22-year marriage, he seriously considers indulging in an extra-marital life in the hope that it will bring back his zeal in life. Presented by Ashvin Gidwani Productions, 2 to Tango 3 to Jive is an account on modern life where characters are trying to curb their loneliness, even at the cost of breaking social norms.

Throughout the play, the characters, in their attempt at defeating loss, the fear of being incomplete, and the confusion stemming from the so-called settled life, are trying to achieve a sense of togetherness.

We become too many people

Saurabh Shukla, best known for his roles in Satya, Barfi and PK, has written, directed and plays the protagonist in 2 to Tango 3 to Jive. The Hindi-English play, has had close to 65 shows and continues to entertain audiences across India. Excerpts from an interview

How did the idea for 2 to Tango… come about?

I started my career with theatre, and I kept pursuing it for 10 years in Delhi. Then I moved to films, but I couldn’t do anything physically with theatre. I wanted to do a play which is of my liking. I wanted to work on stories from my own surroundings, and create characters I knew of or heard about. I went through a midlife crisis, and was crushed by it in a way. The phase lasted for six months. I had many doubts and a lot of questions. I was very scared by it. I discussed it with a friend and we discovered that both of us were going through the same thing. That is what sparked the idea for this play. I wanted to show midlife crisis from a man’s point of view.

Though the play is a comedy, are there any particular aspect/aspects about midlife crisis that you wanted to portray?

The play is about an extra-marital affair, but the quest is how to beat the loneliness men go through. There seems to be great freedom in our modern lives, but we become way too many people, especially in these days of social media. But we somehow feel lonely. Some of the most well-known personalities lead the loneliest lives. Men feel they have done everything for others, but what have they got in return? During a midlife crisis, men either take to alcohol or they become religious or indulge in extra-marital affairs.

What about Parminder’s character appeals to audiences?

Parminder has a bit of every man. He is a product of society and is bound by the morality of that society. He wants to come across as a sensitive, traditionally rooted man, but he is questioned why he chooses to show this double face. He’s a confused character, who is neither good nor bad.

You have written, directed and also act in the play, which part do you like the most and what are the challenges in each?

A writer, director and actor each have a different take. But what they wish to achieve ultimately reaches the same point. Writing is quite imaginative, and you try to reach a conclusion. Direction involves practical imagination to reach that conclusion and an actor tries to find the life in the story. Whatever you are doing at that point, whether writing, direction or acting, you should enjoy it.

You have made a comeback to theatre after 18 years; do you see a change in the kind of audiences that watch plays these days?

There is more money now. People buy tickets for Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000. When I used to do theatre, tickets were priced at Rs. 5 and Rs. 12, but there were no buyers as such. The only constant in theatre is the passion for it. The theatre still doesn’t pay well. But practitioners pursue it with the same passion.

We have been performing 2 to Tango 3 to Jive for three-and-a-half years and it’s not the money that excites us. Every time we stage the play, we feel wonderful. We discover new meaning.

Group name: AGP World

Director: Saurabh Shukla

Languages: Combination of Hindi and English

Produced by: Ashvin Gidwani Productions Pvt. Ltd.

Time: 2 hours 15 minutes (including 15 minutes of interval)

Rating: For mature audiences

Cast: Saurabh Shukla, Achint Kaur, Sadiya Siddiqui, Preeti Mamgain

Crew: Raghav Prakash Mishra and Inaayat Ali Sami

Creative team: Ashvin Gidwani

Production team: Vijay Shukla, Kamlesh Parab, Mehboob Shaikh


The play 2 to Tango 3 to Jive is scheduled for Sep 13 at Chowdiah Memorial Hall at 7.30 p.m. Tickets are priced at Rs 750, Rs 450 and Rs 300. Student passes are available at Rs 200 subject to producing valid student ID for each seat during redemption. To book your seat, visit, or Call 0-9840612333 or 0-9840236367 for details.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 9:44:27 PM |

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